Nutrition interventions being hampered
By Tione Andsen
Dowa, December 16, Mana: Nutrition interventions are being hampered in Dowa district due to lack of proper budget for its activities.
Principal Nutrition, HIV and AIDS Officer for Dowa, Lisungu Kankodo made the observation Tuesday at Linde Motel in Mponela, Dowa during a Three day Oxfam Nutrition Advocacy Training outline.
She said the district has no budget line on nutrition activities and partners are complementing its efforts to addressing issue of malnutrition among under-5 children.
Kankodo added although they are working with partners but they have different policies in the implementation plans which are not in line with district council plans.
“We need to lobby Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS and other stakeholders to ensure that the district councils should have budget lines for the nutrition activities,” the Officer suggested.
She said the issues of stunting in the district are very high stunting at 39.1 percent as compared to the national which stand at 37 percent.
Kankodo believes that with proper budget line, the district could improve the stunting level where community and resource mobilization could easily be implemented.
Director of Planning and Development (DPD) for Dowa, Loveness Silungwe said it was pleasing to note tha during the development of Village Action Plans (VAPs); communities were able to mention issues of nutrition.
She said this has come about because many under 5 children are being affected with malnutrition issues.
“We have factored in issues of nutrition in our District Development Plan (DDP) and a budget line has been put but we are still looking for funding,” Silungwe said.
The DPD said issues of nutrition needs a lot of awareness among communities saying for any development to take place in any community, there was need to enlighten them on the importance of nutrition to their wellbeing.
“We will continue engagement partners to work with communities on nutrition issues as one way of addressing issues of stunting in the district,” she pointed out.
Oxfam Livelihood Resilience Programme Manager, Steve Kuliyazi said investment in nutrition was still a small portion of overall domestic budgets.
“The trend indicates a persistently low nutrition allocation over the years with proportions at 0.6 percent, 0.5 percent, 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent between 2016/2017 to 2019/2020 national budgets respectively. The relatively low size of the budget allocated for nutrition related initiatives and programmes suggest that nutrition is marginalized in programmatic expenditure,” he added.